Nikki Appino is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist and filmmaker. As a director, writer, and producer, Appino has taken on subjects ranging from religion and sports to American history and pop culture. She has received numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts/TCG directing fellowship.
Nikki began her training as a writer and director at NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. After graduation, Nikki moved to Seattle where she established her directing career at west coast theatres including The Empty Space, Portland Repertory Theatre, ACT, Berkeley Rep, Perseverance Theater, On The Boards, New City Theatre, and the Northwest New Works Festival.
She founded the company House of Dames to develop and produce original theater and film works. From 1998 to 2003, House of Dames produced over ten original pieces, including Invisible Ink, Before the Comet Comes, Rain City Rollers, and the acclaimed Djinn.
“Each of writer-director Appino’s pieces has had its own singular style. But running through much of her original work, from the visually grand Djinn, to the more intimate Invisible Ink and Project X are currents of melancholy…humor, and a human-scale approach to epic subjects.”—The Seattle Times
Appino has collaborated on her original work with a range of artists and composers, including Eyvind Kang, Robin Holcomb, Wayne Horvitz, and Philip Glass. Her directing credits include Robin Holcomb’s Silent Spring (Walker Center, Wexner, Flynn Center, Dance Theater Workshop).
From 2009 to 2012, Appino worked with the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice in Thailand teaching generative theatre workshops and media production. While in Thailand, she collaborated on the creation of three video documentary projects: Inside Out, World on Fire, and The Art of Change.
In addition to producing theater and film, Appino worked for five years (2004 to 2008) as the supervising and line producer for Triple Threat Television, and for major media outlets, including NBC, The Discovery Channel, TLC, CNBC, AMC, and LifeMed Media.
With her company, Appino Productions, she’s directed and produced the documentaries A Girls’ Gotta Ride (about women and the rodeo) and American Rimpoche (about the arrival of Tibetan Buddhism in the West). She currently has three performance projects in development: The White Lama, which explores the life and disappearance of Theos Casmiri Hamati Bernard, Transcontinental, a musical myth about two women in love at a 1932 roller derby contest and Archivist with Saori Tsukada.
Her most recent project, Club Diamond (with Saori Tsukada) was selected for the Sundance TheatreMakers Residency and its Theatre Lab at MassMoCA. Club Diamond premiered at the 2017 Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater in New York City, and it played at the 2017 Days and Night Festival in Big Sur, California.